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Transformative leadership for our strategic plan

Pastor Marc Herbst with Bishop Rimbo

Bishop Rimbo and the Executive Committee are pleased to announce that Pastor Marc Herbst has been called as Assistant to the Bishop for Strategic Plan Implementation.

A lifelong Lutheran, Pastor Herbst joined our synod’s roster as a second-career pastor, having extensive experience in business management, engineering and construction development, communications and public relations, government affairs and negotiations. He continued as executive director of the Long Island Contractors Association even while serving his first call as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Syosset. Prior to his pastorate at Faith, Herbst was a member at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Plainview, where he was baptized, confirmed, and married. He had been an integral part of the life of the parish, helping in various roles and ministries, including congregational council member, assistant minister, lector, usher, Sunday school teacher, confirmation instructor, Bible study leader, and parish life committee chair. He also participated as a voting member of several synod and churchwide assemblies.

Throughout Pr. Herbst’s professional private and public sector careers, he has been called upon to use his skills and training to help transform moribund, stagnant organizations and implement necessary cultural change while encouraging dynamic growth. These qualities made him an ideal candidate to lead our synod’s strategic plan initiative. Several leaders suggested Pr. Herbst, despite his initial dismissal. "My repeated reluctance to consider the opportunity were met with encouragement from Bishop Rimbo and other leaders to prayerfully consider how God is calling me to best use my gifts and talents in proclaiming the gospel of our Lord to the greater church," says Pr. Herbst. "While I wrestled with the decision, my resistance was solely based on my love for the people of Faith and its flourishing ministry."

Pr. Herbst’s transformative leadership at Faith underscores the direction intended for the implementation of the strategic plan. During his pastorate, he identified and empowered new leadership from within the pews and encouraged them to successfully transform a challenged parish ministry to meet the guidelines set forth in the synod’s congregation viability norms. New and updated programs were initiated to proclaim the gospel, resulting in greater involvement, significant increases in worship attendance, and the reclamation of its nursery school program as a focal ministry for the community. Building and property improvements, including a new parking lot, walkways, patio, front door, roof, boiler, interior ceilings, alarm, safety and lighting systems, were added at nominal costs mainly through outside gifts. Faith, with its renewed welcoming environment, is now poised to perform an even greater ministry as it kicks off its new thematic program to "Grow in Faith."

The Synod Council formally called Pr. Herbst on October 18, and he begins on December 2. Our strategic plan will review, re-energize and re-purpose many of the synod’s nearly 200 ministry centers. The "Claimed Gathered Sent" initiative is intended to be an ambitious transformative measure that will allow us to proclaim the gospel in new, innovative ways in the ever-changing, fast-paced environment of our world. The plan is designed to ensure that the Lutheran church remains relevant--not only in the lives of the faithful, but among the communities we seek to serve. In his new role, Pr. Herbst will oversee the entire plan including the rostered leaders, congregations, agencies, institutions, ministries, and consultants with whom we work.

"Marc has a pastor’s heart and a portfolio of skills necessary to implement our strategic plan," said Bishop Rimbo. "We welcome him to the synod staff with joy."

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